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Surgical Technologist

colleges offer programs related to this career near San Mateo, CA

Career Overview

If you've ever watched a TV show or film where a surgery was happening, you probably found yourself staring at the doctor as they performed the procedure. But did you notice the person responding to the doctor's requests for tools? That individual is a surgical technologist.Surgical technologists work as members of a healthcare team alongside doctors, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers. If you choose to pursue this career, you would prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and assist doctors during surgeries. This role is important because you are responsible for sterilizing equipment, preparing patients for surgery, and counting supplies such as sponges and instruments to help maintain a sterile environment.Working as a surgical technologist gives you a front row seat to witness surgical procedures. Consider this: you are the doctor's key assistant during critical procedures, such as brain or open-heart surgery. They count on your support to help the operation go as smoothly as possible. Your work could help saves someone's life, or at the least, improve it.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$46,310
106,470
11.7 %
California
$60,250
9,800
 

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
High School Diploma or GED Certificate or Associate's Degree in Surgical Technology

To become a surgical technologist, you need to complete a program in surgical technology. Accredited programs require a high school diploma or GED and can be found at a community college, vocational school, university, or hospital. The length of a program can vary- certificate programs tend to last several months, while an associate's degree can require up to two years to complete.These programs include courses in anatomy, biology, medical terminology, pharmacology, and other topics. You will learn how to take safely take care of patients, sterilize equipment and tools, how to set up technical or robotic equipment, and how to prevent infections. To supplement classroom study, you will work in supervised clinical settings to gain hands-on experience. The time you spend in the clinical settings will help you to become confident in your abilities and comfortable working with patients. Furthermore, it's important that you know a small number of states require you to earn certification before you are able to work. These certification requirements vary by state and can be found online.

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Detail Oriented
Decision-Making Skills

Work Environment

Most surgical technologists work full time at hospitals. You may work or be on call during nights, weekends, and holidays. Sometimes, you may also be required to work shifts lasting longer than 8 hours.This job requires you to stand the entire time you're working so it is important that you wear comfortable shoes. Many professionals choose to wear running or cross training shoes that provide great support and help keep their feet comfortable during long shifts.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013